Name: Burj Mubarak al Kabir
Cost: $7.37 billion
Estimated Completion: 2016
The Challenge: Erect a 3,300-foot building that's strong enough to withstand 150mph winds
The Empire State Building claimed the world's-tallest title for four decades. Today's record-holder, the more-than-2,300-foot Burj Dubai, will be lucky to keep it for four years. The Kuwaiti government is about to break ground on the City of Silk, a designed-from-scratch metropolis on the Tigris and Euphrates river delta with a 3,284-foot tower as its centerpiece. At that height, winds could sway a conventional skyscraper like a tree branch and turbulent vortices could shake it to smithereens.
So instead of building one shaky tower, London-based architect Eric Kuhne designed the Mubarak skyscraper as three interlocking towers, each twisting 45 degrees top to bottom to help stabilize it. The inside edges of the buildings meet in the center to form a triangular shaft through the middle. No matter which way the wind blows, two of the three towers will always brace the building.
Although the three-pronged design keeps the high-rise from swaying, it doesn't counter the choppy winds that whip around the uppermost stories, which can cause damaging vibrations. So Kuhne is trying something never before done on a building: giving it vertical ailerons, the normally horizontal flaps on the trailing edge of aircraft wings that control rolling motion. The ailerons, which are only three to six feet wide, run the full length of each edge of the towers and mechanically adjust to redirect the changing winds around the structure and scatter the vortices, mitigating vibrations.
The Mubarak's size is intended to accommodate Kuwait's explosive population growth, with seven 30-story neighborhoods stacked atop one another, each with apartments, offices and hotels, and four-story "town squares" linking them. Even the height has a cultural significance, Kuhne says. "One thousand and one meters for [the classic Arabian fairy tale] One Thousand and One Nights. It's the difference between bragging rights and telling a story."
See more extreme engineering projects in PopSci's look at the Future of Building!
Apparently oil wealth must be a great aphrodisiac because the Arabs are using it to have giant erections in their cities.
I'd hate to have to wait for an elevator in there.
Another testament to the fact that we will all make it through. I cant to see it complete. How I love engineering and how we still want to blast to the stars. Now I want warp engines...At least a fusion engine...something.
It is incredible what architects and engineers can do now
Unlike in a metropolis with also crowded sub-urban neighbourhoods, these high-rise towers planned in the desert cities of the Arabian Gulf are more of status symbols. While it might be good that some of the oil wealth is being spent to pay for bringing out human ingenuity in engineering designs, these towers are not necessitated by shortage of space on ground (with miles of sprawling deserts all around). Many of these countries are not also equipped to address an emergency situations in high-rise towers.
A few years ago, I used to work in Kuwait City, with my office in one of the high-rise towers. In the plot next to ours, a new tower was being built and at the worksite there was a fire that broke out at a high-rise level, trapping many workers on the rooftop and cranes, with fire bellowing from below. After about half an hour, an army helicopter attempted to rescue the workers, but failed to even lower a seemingly inexperienced uniformed man to the rooftop. Watching this drama unfold, the British pilot of a private helicopter atop our building moved in to rescue the trapped workers.
These status symbol towers are good for Guinness Record books, but whether the national safety and rescue infrastructure is in place to support living in these towers is questionable.
It's amazing to see just how far engineering has come. What's even more impressive is the decrease in amount of time it takes to build these great monuments.
This building looks very impressive.
It would be interesting to know of they are using any metals besides steel such as titanium. I also wonder if they are doing anything special with the steel (or other metals) such as nano-engineering where the steel beams are actually made up of many triangle-shaped pieces for added strength.
the skyscraper looks huge i think the city looks very cool cuz like it reminds me of new york city which is to me the best city in the world but even if this city has more skyscrapers then new york city nyc will still be better i think just my opinion cool new skyscraper though did they start it yet